In the uncertain times of a global pandemic, many companies are struggling with workflow. It’s more important than ever to stay productive in the workplace. The adage rings true; a happy employee is a productive employee. How do we keep our marketing teams happy and productive in a remote working environment?
Alex Lysak from Scanteam tells here a bit more about working remotely, best practices, and pitfalls to avoid when managing a remote team.
One of the most effective ways to work from home is to have smaller teams. Besides the fact that smaller groups are intrinsically more comfortable to manage, it also makes communication easier and creates stronger bonds between team members. Smaller units allow ideas to flow, and more of these ideas are actioned.
If it’s not feasible to have small teams, you can try breaking the project up into specific tasks and assign people to smaller groups to work on these tasks. Employees prefer working in smaller teams for various reasons, including the fact that you feel safer and communication is more manageable.
There are also many benefits to having diversity in your team. Different experiences and backgrounds mean that the team is more creative and likely more productive. The team will have diverse insights and perspectives and can approach problems in new and innovative ways. Research shows that diversity increases creativity with 35%.
Juggling Work and Life
During the pandemic, it became essential for many employees to start working remotely. It can become difficult to juggle work expectations with family demands. If you have kids, they can often demand attention when you are trying to get work done. There are also plenty of distractions around the house.
As a manager of a remote marketing team, you need to manage your team’s goals. A great way to do this is to set small goals that they must reach every day. You should also have weekly and monthly goals for the team to meet.
Goals help team members to stay on task and focused. In a remote setting, it sometimes happens that employees work outside of working hours, maybe late at night when the house is quiet. The goals will allow the worker to stay on-task and get the job done, regardless of when it is done.
You can give your team tips and strategies on how to be productive from home. These can include the importance of regular breaks and how to create an environment for productivity. Help your employees with dealing with isolation and give them lists of tools that they can use to manage productivity.
Employees need to make sure that they have a designated workspace at home. The workspace must be in a quiet area in the house, free from distractions. A table and a comfortable chair is a must. You should also make sure that you have adequate lighting, which is something that can put a strain on your eyes and cause headaches if it’s not enough.
Get Tools to Help
How to increase productivity? Get tools to help. There are numerous software options available to help manage teams and projects. These tools help teams with collaboration and internal workflow management. It can also help with communication and goal-management. Some of the tools are free; others are paid. You need to find the tools that will best help manage your team.
Project management software options are productivity tools for remote work. You can assign activities with all the essential information with ease. When you choose a software tool, you need to consider the team needs and how each device can meet those needs the best.
There are also various ways that you can use technology to keep in contact with your team without having virtual meetings or phone calls. For instance, you can use instant messaging, which is often a more casual way to communicate.
Negate Feelings of Isolation
One of the biggest struggles with remote work, especially during this time, is feelings of isolation. You’re used to working around people the entire time. You had meetings, lunch with colleagues, and water-cooler conversations. Suddenly, all of this interaction is gone.
One of the ways to work from home efficiently is to have weekly virtual meetings. This can help overcome feelings of loneliness and isolation by seeing colleagues and hearing their voices. You can also make a virtual break room. A place where team members can chat casually about things other than work. A virtual break room can help employees feel like part of the team, even though they are physically isolated, with the added benefit of increasing productivity by up to 15%.
Other methods that you should employ to create a sense of community are online training sessions and online team-building activities. You also have to create a specific culture for your team. Ask members for input on things such as core values, a mission statement, and principles of operations.
Recognize Good Work
Recognizing good work is a business principle that is more important than ever. When an employee does a good job, recognize them for it. It can be as simple as a phone call, or a thank-you during a meeting. Simple recognition is a powerful motivator. It will also go a long way if you send small gifts to employees who are performing well.
Regular feedback is essential. Include your team in information and explain how their work is helping the business succeed during a time of uncertainty. Effective communication is vital for the success of a team.
Since remote work is new to many employees, it’s understandable that it’s going to take time to adjust to these new demands. As the team leader, it’s your responsibility to help your team adapt to the change. It might be difficult for some team members to navigate the new technology, or it’s a challenge to learn to work in a new environment. The team leader should be empathetic and patient with employees experiencing these challenges.
Be flexible with deadlines, as far as possible, and allow the employees some time to adjust to the new way of working. Ensure that every member of the team gets the necessary training to use all the latest systems and technology. Make sure your team knows that you are available to assist with problems and questions.
While effective communication is essential for marketing working from home, it’s crucial not to let your team feel like you are micromanaging them. Communication without micromanaging can be a delicate balance.
You can get your team’s input on how often it is necessary to have virtual meetings or phone calls. Avoid constantly checking up on your workers, which can be seen as looking over their shoulders. Only have meetings when necessary and have casual interaction with your team from time to time.
Remote workers need to be autonomous. Workers need to be able to figure out their work routine at home and allowing your team to do this will build trust and boost morale. Allow your team some time to find their rhythm, instead of pushing the same expectations as working in the office.
Allowing your team autonomy to meet goals without scrutiny gives them back control over their processes, something that is essential to be productive when working from home. Allowing autonomy also shows your team that you are not micromanaging them. Boost productivity by taking a step back and allowing your team to do their best work.
Keep Important Information in a Central Place
Companies have been using cloud-based servers for years. It is now more important than ever to have all the essential information in one place. A place to which the entire team has access. Google Drive has been a popular choice for a while.
Make sure that documents have the necessary permissions; for instance, some documents must not be edited and only viewed. If you use software like Google Docs, it’s quite easy to set the permissions for each record.
If you have all the information in centralized storage, the team can access it quickly and avoid not being in the loop. You can also track which employees opened the documents and who made changes.
Companies are agreeing on the benefits of remote work. It seems to increase productivity due to various factors. Working from home cuts out frustrating commutes to and from work, as well as improving work-life balance. Employees waste less time; they don’t talk to colleagues about unrelated topics and get more done if they have a proper work area at home. It also cuts down on overheads for the business.
As a result, many companies will choose to allow for remote work, even after the pandemic has passed. Helping your marketing team to adjust to remote work and reach maximum productivity will enable your employees to be successful.
As a team leader, the team’s success is also your success. Encourage effective communication, create a team spirit, and help your team stay on task.
Alex Lysak is the CEO of ScanTeam. I am working in online marketing since 2011, my main areas of expertise are marketing research, social media marketing, and SEO. During 9 years of experience, I have helped many products and startups to develop marketing strategies and to implement them further.